Smart Picks 16 September 2014

Coming home. 

New York Times – What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.


What I’m listening to. Georg Philipp Telemann "Burlesque de Quixotte". Suite for strings & continuo in G major, TWV 55:G10

Resetting NATO. Thanks to David of London.

Spectator -- Nato must rediscover its purpose, or it will end up losing a war

European countries seem to think of their defence alliance as a means of getting security on the cheap. That won't work any longer. 

Rates rising. Thanks to Sean of The Hague.

Financial Post -- Why the coming ‘rates rage’ will wreak havoc across the globe

The world financial system is at an inflection point as the U.S. and China both switch off monetary stimulus, a form of synchronised tightening by the “G2″ superpowers. 

They could ask men too. 

New York Magazine -- 25 Famous Women on Childlessness

The public’s appetite for celebrity babies is pretty insatiable: the mere possibility of a baby bump on a “royal” can drive the internet into a full-fledged tizzy (e.g., Kate Middleton, Beyoncé) and celebrities rake in millions for featuring their newborn spawn on magazine covers.

Who’s funding those guys? 

Politico -- To Defeat the Islamic State, Follow the Money

President Obama is laying out his strategy to counter the Islamic State, whose rampages across Iraq and Syria have riveted Americans’ attention on a zone of conflict that many had hoped to forget.


SBS -- Interactive: Where do the foreign fighters in Iraq come from?

Thousands of people from around the world have travelled to join militants fighting in Iraq and Syria. Just where do all these people come from?


National Post – Canadian Jihadist Unmasked

Abu Turaab has been tweeting his deadly ideology since he joined ISIS. The Post has learned his real name is Mohammed Ali.

Secular humanists are just as bad as religious zealots. 

Guardian -- The atheist delusion

'Opposition to religion occupies the high ground, intellectually and morally,' wrote Martin Amis recently. Over the past few years, leading writers and thinkers have published bestselling tracts against God. John Gray on why the 'secular fundamentalists' have got it all wrong.

Boating up. 

The Diplomat -- Australia's Emerging Amphibious Warfare Capabilities

Australia’s new Landing-Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious ships will be a game changer for its ability to project force.

Loving the nation. 

The Week -- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence

The mandarins of the European Union see the nation-state as an anachronism. They couldn't be more wrong.


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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.